| Double Take |

One Happy Family

Shira: If we’re part of the family, why do you keep excluding us?

Brachi: Why do you constantly make us feel inferior just for being ourselves?

As soon as my husband said the words Succos plans, my muscles tensed. I knew the ritual already: Succos at my in-laws was a sacred time. My parents made aliyah soon after we got married, and we spend Pesach with them most years. So every Succos, we join Yoni’s parents — which means an entire week with my four sisters-in-law.

“I don’t understand why you don’t get along with my sisters,” he complained once. “They’re so harmless. They don’t mean anything bad!”

“It’s not what they mean that’s the problem.” Chani, Brachi, Blumy, Faigy — they look alike, they talk alike, they even think alike. That’s where the problems start.

“I hate sitting there feeling like the odd one out all the time,” I tried explaining to Yoni. “You know, they’re these four girls who grew up together, and I’m the only sister-in-law, the only one who comes from a different house. They have all these private jokes, and they’re always getting together with their kids. All the cousins are practically siblings, and then ours are left out.”

“So we can initiate sometimes, invite them over, things like that,” he said. “Or we could just join them when they get together.”

“When we’re invited,” I retorted. Then I felt bad. “Whatever, it’s one week, I’ll deal with it.”

Yoni looked relieved. He never understood the problem I had with his sisters, preferring to pretend that everyone got along fine. And it wasn’t like we fought or anything. It was just that they were in their own little world, sisters only, and outsiders simply didn’t belong.

I thought of Yoni’s advice when I booked tickets to the Chol Hamoed circus. Time was rushing by; if we didn’t book fast, the early-bird tickets would be sold out. I reserved six seats and then wondered if I should have offered to book for my sisters-in-law and their families, also.

I posted a message on the Friedman Siblings chat: Hey, anyone want to join us at the circus, first day Chol Hamoed? Early bird tickets still open.

I watched the two gray ticks appear — so everyone had received my message. But there was no response. It was oddly quiet for the 200-messages-per-hour chat.

After a couple of hours, Brachi sent a tepid Hmm, not making plans yet. Then Chani wrote, lol I haven’t even planned Rosh Hashanah yet — where’s everyone holding with menus? Any new ideas?

Of course, the group sprang into action instantly. Blumy and Faigy were typing… within seconds.

I swallowed, and shut down WhatsApp.

And Yoni would probably say I was overreacting again.

(Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 781)

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